Tomb discoveries reveal Oman’s ancient trade route from coast to interior

Grave sites discovered in Ad Dhahirah governorate are revealing new information about the past

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Tombs discovered in Oman’s Ibri province confirm a trade route ran between the sultanate’s coastal and interior regions from 300 BC, the country’s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism said on Wednesday.

The two grave sites were discovered in 2013 when construction teams surveyed the area to build a road between Wadi Al Hajar and the village of Bilad Al Shahoum, but work to excavate them did not begin until June 2020, Oman News Agency reported.

Human bones inside tombs in beehive, oval and pyramid shapes were discovered during the dig.

Archaeologists found various types of pots made from local soapstone, decorated with circles dotted with geometric shapes. Jewellery, such as earrings made from bronze and beads, were also discovered.

Muhammad bin Al Murr Al Kalbani, head of the surveys department at Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, said the find proved an Iron Age trade link had existed at about the time the graves were built between the country’s coastal and interior communities.

The tombs are near the Unesco heritage site of Bat.

Bat has seven monumental stone towers, mostly in the shape of beehives, dating back to the Bronze Age. It is thought to show that its inhabitants had a high standard of living, with long-distance trading with Mesopotamia, the civilisation of Sindh and Iran.

The excavation team was made up of young people from the Department of Archaeological Surveys and Excavations at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism.

In September, a settlement area was discovered in Bat by Omani and New York University archaeologists.

It had homes grouped around what appeared to be an above-ground water source.

The discovery, along with tools dating back more than 8,000 years, has forced researchers to change their thinking on how people of the age lived and communicated.

Updated: July 26, 2021, 1:11 PM